Whoever drinks of this water will thirst again, but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life. (John 4:13-14)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Response to Jonathan Moorhead's Post on Zane Hodges

Jonathan Moorhead put out a post on his blog recently as a tirade against Zane Hodges and Free Grace theology. What follows here is my comment that I left on his blog, which he quickly deleted, because he wants to open up a can of worms, but does not wish to be called on it.

Dearest Jonathan,

Thank you for making Zane Hodges a topic of conversation around here! I do not think there is such a thing as bad press, especially when it comes to truth.

Truth is not always palatable to everyone.

What you have provided is quotes that show the conviction that salvation is absolutely free.
Free Grace Blog: Salvation is Absolutely Free!

Zane Hodges stands by God's grace apart from works, unlike some such as MacArthur who can state contradictory things such as "Salvation is both free and costly...", whose definitions of faith literally takes him down the "Roman Road".

Zane teaches what the Bible teaches: Salvation apart from works of any kind. Zane teaches grace. Grace would not be grace if it could not be abused.

It is a sad fact that people who once get saved can later apostasize. This isn't the whole story, though. By not providing it, you misrepresent Free Grace theology.

The Bible has a well articulated doctrine of accountability, which Free Grace theology picks up on. God chastens the erring and wayward regenerate Christian. God has a repertiore of devices and means by which he shows His temporal displeasure and wrath against the persistent unfaithful Christian, which includes sickness, heavy circumstances, and physical death.

Temporal consequences are not the only thing the unfaithful Christian can look forward to. Consequential judgment awaits the apostate, unfaithful, and unrepentant Christians at the Bema of Christ. Loss of reward, honor, glory, rulership and inheritance in the kingdom are real possibilities to the Christian who is saved, yet as through fire.

These quotes of yours are meant to have shock value. I sure hope they do. For it is time for the Reformed/Lordship salvationist propogandists to rethink their relation to the works-salvation and works-righteousness of those like MacArthur.

The "You Can't Be Saved Unless" gospel of MacArthur and the other Lordship salvation advocates needs to be revisited.
Free Grace Blog: Lordship Salvation's 'You Can't Be Saved Unless:' gospel

"The minimum a person must give is all. I say, 'you must give it all. You cannot hold back even a fraction of a percentage of yourself. Every sin must be abandoned. Every false thought must be repudiated. You must be the Lord's entrely." (James Boice, Christ's Call to Discipleship, 114, italics his)

This reminds me of a church marquee that cleverly and concisely conveyed this very message in one short statement, "The way to heaven is to turn right and keep straight!"

This is works salvation!

No. Christ gave it all, the sinner can give nothing. This is grace. This is what the Bible teaches. This is what Zane Hodges teaches: Absolutely unmerited Free Grace...

while MacArthur teaches that salvation becomes a contract between the sinner and God, whereby the sinner commits all, and when he makes good on that, God then gives salvation. MacArthur teaches that the sinner must pay the cost (I thought Jesus did!):

"...He demanded that we count the cost carefully. He was calling for an exchange [see the contract here?] of all that we are for all that He is. He was demanding implicit obedience -- unconditional surrender to His Lordship." (TGAJ 147)

Here MacArthur states that Jesus demands obedience if we are to be saved. How is this not works salvation? MacArthur says that we have to pay the cost!

James Boice says it similiarly when he says:

"The point of this examination of the cost of following Christ is not to discourage anyone from following Him, however. It is rather to encourage you to follow Jesus to the end. To do that we must count the cost, by all means, but then we must pay it joyfully and willingly, knowing that this must be done if a person is to be saved" (Boice, Ibid, 112).

According to MacArthur and Lordship Salvation, there is a price to be paid by the sinner in order to gain eternal life.

Lordship Salvation adds works as conditions for eternal life by doing 2 things: 1) radically redefining faith to include works and 2)stating that works must necessarily result from regeneration, thus making the subsequent works necessary for salvation.

We have seen how MacArthur redefines faith, and seperates himself from the Reformers such as Calvin and Luther:

JMac has totally redefined faith from the Bible and the original Reformers. They would be turning in their grave.

John Calvin:

"Now we shall have a complete definition of faith, if we say, that it is a steady and certain knowledge of the Divine benevolence towards us, which [is] founded on the truth of the gratuitous promise in Christ"

John MacArthur:

"A concept of faith that excludes obedience corrupts the message of salvation"

Night and day. One is mere and pure trust and reliance on Christ, the other is works-salvation.

Next they make salvation contingent on works that supposedly are necessarily resulted from regeneration, for instance see John Piper:

"...we must also own up to the fact that our final salvation is made contingent upon the subsequent obedience which comes from faith." (John Piper "TULIP: What We Believe About the Five Points of Calvinism...", pg 25)

Free Grace Blog: Does God Drag People Down the Path of Obedience?

Now Jonathan wishes to use a Free Grace writer (such as Zeller) who he links to in order to argue against Zane Hodges. But this same writer argues against the Lordship Salvation that Jonathan espouses!
Same Author Denounces Lordship Salvation

So many people mischaracterize and misrepresent Free Grace theology. They get their information about it from its detractors.

Before you go start jumping to all these conclusions about Free Grace theology because Jonathan Moorehead has posted more Red Herrings to distract from the real issues concerning the gospel debate, why not come over to my blog and actually discuss these things and get to know exactly what Free Grace theology teaches, rather than caricatures and misrepresentations of it?

Prov 18:13
He who answers a matter before he hears it, It is folly and shame to him.

I hope and pray that you can earnestly give Free Grace theology an open hearing as to its full teachings.

You can be Calvinist and still be Free Grace as well. The Trinity Foundation (Gordon H. Clark, John Robbins), R.T. Kendall, Charles M. Bell, Joseph Dillow, Michael Eaton are just a few of the many Free Grace Calvinists.

One staunch Calvinist blogger, who goes by Earl Flask MetaSchema wrote this after reading the posts on my Free Grace Blog:

"I've been reading your blog and associated comments for a couple of hours and have not finished. This isn't a 15 minute job. Your thoughts are subtle and require careful thinking.

I have a better understanding now. I really appreciate your stance on free grace. I'm understanding your hermeneutic better now. I think you do hit the mark on some Reformed theologians positions, although Reformed Theology is not one monolithic view. There is a raging controversy within Reformed theology on the place of works. John Piper and Douglas Wilson are on one end of it and some of their works reflect what you talk about. Pink needs to be read with care.

Works righteousness, wherever it shows up, is a hideous thing -- especially within Reformed theology, because of their very foundation of monergism, should be opposed to it.

Your critique of this stream of Reformed Theology is on target."

and then again in a correspondence:

"I resonate with your free grace -- that is the heart of the gospel. While I may differ with some of your details in interpreting James, you are right on target with free grace. Unfortunately, the free gracers are targets from others. I have been working on spreading the ideas of free grace around me.

I view you as a comrad in this struggle, once I understood your position"

Once you understand the position, you may well feel the same way!

Antonio da Rosa

9 Comments:

Blogger kerri said...

As I understand, understanding the unmerited grace of God, drives one to fall on their face in constant worship of such a God who could save such a sinner! This worship is brought completely by the work of God, not ourselves. The result is a passionate love that desires to become like the God who loves so fiercely.

Now, consider the person who professes being a Christian who doesn't have this passion to worship and honor God to such a degree that there is an evidence in their life. A marked evidence that at many times puts this person at odds with the world around them. Should this person who doesn't have this inner longing (passion) and outward expression (obedience)assume that they belong to the Father?

It is not the obedience that brings about salvation! It is the grace of God. The obedience and self sacrifice is the outworking of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer.

A turning point in my own life was when I examined myself and found that I lacked a love for people. I was convicted over Jesus' words. I found that I didn't have love for Jesus because I didn't have love for the brethren. I didn't have concern for the lost. I was a very moral person, but used the bible and teachings as a self-help book with my own efforts as the fuel for the project of being more like Jesus. Does this mean I wasn't saved? No, not necessarily. God didn't keep me at this place. He convicted me (even if it was years later) and softened me.

There should be growth in the life of a Christian. Not perfection, but a complacentcy for God will not go unchecked by the Holy Spirit in the life of His children. God will discipline His children. That is God's grace toward us, isn't it?

December 29, 2005 8:50 PM  
Blogger Rose~ said...

Antonio,
I don't think the Zane Hodges quotes that Jonathan put up are that inflammatory. They are obviously infammatory and disgusting to the reformed, but they didn't shock me. Christ saves. Christ keeps. He is faithful even when we are not. Zane Hodges was giving an extreme example of this truth in those quotes. That is all.

Don't let your feathers get so ruffled. Just make a simple comment like: "So? I don't see a problem with those quotes from Zane. Why do you?"

December 29, 2005 9:07 PM  
Blogger Jonathan Moorhead said...

Antonio, your posts have been deleted for three reasons: (1) length; (2) vitriol; and (3) adding nothing to the dialogue. On your blog and mine you have charged me with throwing a “tirade”, conducting “misrepresentations,” and “playing a game.”

Contrary to your charges, all I have done is quote Zane Hodges – I have made no commentary, but let the man speak for himself. I thought that I would be charged with taking Hodges out of context with only one quote, so I offered three. Your clear display of anger towards me for these simple quotes does nothing to further this debate.

P.S.- since you did not link to my post, your readers can find it here.

December 29, 2005 9:52 PM  
Blogger Dyspraxic Fundamentalist said...

I do not see what is so offensive about Free Grace theology.

I do understand why Calvinists get so worked up about it though.

It is the consistent charge of Calvinists that they are the defenders fo Unmerited Grace. They charge those who reject their position on election with teaching a compromised gospel that is close to Rome.

Free Grace theology demonstrates that their theology is actaully closer to Rome than they would like to admit.

The Calvinist's emphasis on grace is on grace shown in election, not on God's grace in justifying sinners who are otherwise deserving of death.

Every Blessing in Christ

Matthew

December 30, 2005 1:08 AM  
Blogger Shawn L said...

Antonio,

Interesting that you call Earl a staunch calvinist. I

Earl,
I'm a bit surprised by your endorcement of Antonio mostly because of his railing against all things calvinistic rather than encouraging all things biblical. I don't find this style to be helpful to man. I know that Steve Camp has this style sometimes, but I still don't see the point. Also you concern of John Piper is interesting. Have you read "Counted Righteous in Christ" as that will dispell all of your concerns you have about him.

Rose/Matthew,

The only one I can see digitally ruffled that I can tell on this topic is Antonio....however I'm looking through a small mirror and could be wrong.

From my point of view, He continually goes onto each person from a calvinistic background and tries to stire up statements of being romanists. I don't see how this is helping the body of Christ.

I guess I don't see the point of going round and round.... Let's just learn from each other is my opinion.

There are people in my church and on the internet I want to encourage and provoke in the faith and grow with. Isn't the internet this point.

That we could give something of the glory of God to someone else to see and delight in Christ.

December 30, 2005 5:44 AM  
Blogger Bhedr said...

yeah you are right Shawn,

I once did this myself and we have to remember that not even Micheal the Arch Angel did this to Satan, so we must be careful of our tongues. We do have to contend and confront folly but do it in such a way as to not accuse. I will admit that this is hard to do, but we must be at least awakened to this as this is at the heart of everything for out of it we make ourselves known.

I too am thankful to God for his patience with me. let us also remember that even Job had to be rebuked of speaking things he knew not of. So none of us have arrived in knowing our folly but our mouths must be stopped so that we at least admit to it and that we wish to flee this evil and this is what happened to me. Romans 3:19.

December 30, 2005 9:18 AM  
Blogger Nate said...

Hey Antonio,

Have you thought about discussing chapters from a Hodges/Ryrie/Wilkin/Moyer/....book?
There are too many misconceptions about various views put forth and I think an honest read and discussion about some of these views would help. I think I might discuss "Free and Clear" by Moyer, for one reason I like it, another it's online so everyone can read it, so we'll see what happens with that. Anyway take it easy.
GODBLESS,
NATE

December 31, 2005 6:46 AM  
Blogger wilsford said...

i don't get why we get worked up about these differences in the first place.

i have heard it preached that "those who will stand for everything will stand for anything," which i understood as code for "our way or the highway."

i chose the highway...but i still don't get why we get so worked up over our differences. i sometimes wonder if the argument does not serve as Satan's tool for shifting our focus away from being faithful followers of Jesus.

or maybe my particular hot button hasn't been hit yet?

January 14, 2006 1:11 PM  
Blogger Biblicist said...

Hi Antonio:

I don't agree that you said anything offensive or out of line on MOOR. But I also think that Hodges comments stand on their own. The fact that Jon thinks them false proves a lot.

Gary

June 17, 2008 11:36 AM  

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